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Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez speaks about sanctuary city policy (Image: AP)
Federal funding restored to Miami-Dade following sanctuary city abandonment
Less than a month after President Trump’s inauguration, and with the Trump Administration announcing plans for a nationwide crackdown on illegal immigration, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez asked the city commissioners to abandon the city’s 2013 “sanctuary city” policy.
Gimenez, a Republican who supported Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential race, asked the city’s commissioners to reverse the city’s “sanctuary city” policies and comply with federal immigration hold requests. “If there’s a hit and ICE wants that individual, ICE knows we have them and they know how long we’re going to have them,” Gimenez said, “And they can come pick them up.”
On February 17, the city commissioners voted 9 to 3 to support the Mayor’s request and abandoned its ‘sanctuary city’ policies.
That proved to be the right decision.
City now deemed to be in compliance
On Friday, the U.S. Department of Justice notified Mayor Gimenez that the city was now deemed to be in compliance with federal immigration laws and would therefore be eligible to receive federal funding under the “Byrne JAG” grant program.
The Department of Justice Office of Public Affairs issued a press release last month, notifying cities seeking federal assistance under the “Byrne JAG” grant programs of new eligibility requirements, including cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Cities seeking federal assistance under the that program must now “comply with federal law, allow federal immigration access to detention facilities, and provide 48 hours notice before they release an illegal alien wanted by federal authorities.”
Miami-Dade is the first large city to abandon its “sanctuary city” policies following that July 25th announcement.
The policy reversal sparked outrage among “open border” supporters, who have accused Cuban-born mayor Carlos A. Gimenez of betraying Miami-Dade’s heritage. To the millions of law-abiding legal immigrants in Florida, however, the policy is a welcome return to the rule of law.
Policy reversal brings Miami-Dade in line with Dept of Justice efforts
U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been highly critical of so-called ‘sanctuary cities’. In a speech to law enforcement partners on July 21 in Philadelphia, Sessions blasted sanctuary cities for refusing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. “Some jurisdictions in this country refuse to cooperate with federal immigration authorities and turn over illegal aliens who commit crimes,” he said, adding, “These policies are often called ‘sanctuary’ policies. But they are giving sanctuary not to their law-abiding residents; they are giving sanctuary to criminals.”
In his speech, Sessions called for sanctuary cities to re-think their policies, “I urge the city of Philadelphia and every “sanctuary” jurisdiction to consider carefully the harm they are doing to their residents by refusing to cooperate with federal law enforcement and to re-think these policies.”
Related news: Lawsuit filed by City of Chicago over funding requirements
In related news, on Monday, the city of Chicago filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice over its new JAG grant funding requirements.
“This administration will not simply give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety. So it’s this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars.” – U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, responding to Chicago’s lawsuit
On Monday, the Justice Department issued a statement regarding Chicago’s lawsuit. “This administration is committed to the rule of law and to enforcing the laws established by Congress,” said Sessions, adding “To a degree perhaps unsurpassed by any other jurisdiction, the political leadership of Chicago has chosen deliberately and intentionally to adopt a policy that obstructs this country’s lawful immigration system… This administration will not simply give away grant dollars to city governments that proudly violate the rule of law and protect criminal aliens at the expense of public safety. So it’s this simple: Comply with the law or forego taxpayer dollars.”
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Keywords: Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Carlos A. Gimenez, illegal immigration, Miami-Dade, President Trump, sanctuary city, U.S. Department of Justice.